Dictionary.com

rationalism

[ rash-uh-nl-iz-uhm ]
/ ˈræʃ ə nlˌɪz əm /
Save This Word!
See synonyms for: rationalism / rationalistic / rationalist on Thesaurus.com

noun
the principle or habit of accepting reason as the supreme authority in matters of opinion, belief, or conduct.
Philosophy.
  1. the doctrine that reason alone is a source of knowledge and is independent of experience.
  2. (in the philosophies of Descartes, Spinoza, etc.) the doctrine that all knowledge is expressible in self-evident propositions or their consequences.
Theology. the doctrine that human reason, unaided by divine revelation, is an adequate or the sole guide to all attainable religious truth.
Architecture.(often initial capital letter)
  1. a design movement principally of the mid-19th century that emphasized the development of modern ornament integrated with structure and the decorative use of materials and textures rather than as added adornment.
  2. the doctrines and practices of this movement.Compare functionalism (def. 1).
QUIZ
QUIZ YOURSELF ON “ITS” VS. “IT’S”!
Apostrophes can be tricky; prove you know the difference between "it’s" and "its" in this crafty quiz!
Question 1 of 8
On the farm, the feed for chicks is significantly different from the roosters’; ______ not even comparable.

Origin of rationalism

First recorded in 1790–1800; rational + -ism

OTHER WORDS FROM rationalism

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022

How to use rationalism in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for rationalism

rationalism
/ (ˈræʃənəˌlɪzəm) /

noun
reliance on reason rather than intuition to justify one's beliefs or actions
philosophy
  1. the doctrine that knowledge about reality can be obtained by reason alone without recourse to experience
  2. the doctrine that human knowledge can all be encompassed within a single, usually deductive, system
  3. the school of philosophy initiated by Descartes which held both the above doctrines
the belief that knowledge and truth are ascertained by rational thought and not by divine or supernatural revelation

Derived forms of rationalism

rationalist, nounrationalistic, adjectiverationalistically, adverb
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
FEEDBACK